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Vol. II No. 53 (213)

Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia

April 28, 2011

Philadelphia Daily Record

Ed On ‘Eds’

FORMER GOV. ED RENDELL said it was “heartbreaking” to watch potential collapse of State education funding as a result of his successor Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget. Rendell was receiving Judge Edward R. Becker Award from CCP’s Fox Rothschild Center for Law & Society this morning. More education coverage begins page 2.


Census: State Retirement Systems’ Assets Fall $641 Billion In 2009 The nation’s State retirement systems totaled $2.0 trillion in holdings and assets in 2009, a loss of $641.3 billion (24%) from 2008, according to new data from the US Census Bureau. This follows a $152.2 billion loss the previous year. These large decreases are mostly attributed to a $484.9 billion decrease in earnings on investments between 2008 and 2009, following a loss of $439.8 billion the previous year. Retirement systems have

substantial investments in financial markets and consequently earnings are dependent on changes in market performance. These new data come from the 2009 Annual Survey of PublicEmployee Retirement Systems, which reports the annual financial activity for the nation’s 222 Stateadministered public-employee retirement systems. In 2009, investment earnings lost $524.0 billion, reflecting a total re-

ceipts decrease of $484.9 billion, the second year of losses following a decrease of $439.8 billion in 2008. Total contributions were $64.8 billion in 2009, with employee contributions increasing 5% to $33.3 billion. Covered payroll – payments made to active employees on which contributions to a pension plan is based – increased by 5% to $563.5 billion in 2009. Pension obligations also saw an increase of 4%.

Cancer Presumption Bill For Firefighters Is Moving In House State Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester) announced yesterday the House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, which he chairs, unanimously reported legislation that would designate cancer as an occupational disease for firefighters. “All of our Pennsylvania firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our communities, homes, businesses and lives,” said Barrar. “They deserve recompense if they develop cancer as a direct result of their firefighting duties.” HB 797, authored by State Rep. Frank Farry (RBucks), would allow firefighters to receive workers’ compensation if they develop cancer and can establish direct exposure to certain carcinogens while responding to an incident. To be eligible for workers’ compensation, he or she would have to have participated in continuous firefighting duty for four or more years and have successfully passed a physical exam prior to asserting the claim or engaging in firefighting duties. 2|

A similar measure was vetoed in 2010 by then Gov. Ed Rendell due to concerns raised by local governments. Barrar, Farry and other members of the committee reached out to local governments and advocacy groups to arrive at a compromise on the bill’s language, and many of the groups that previously opposed the bill have changed their stance. HB 797 will now go before the full House for consideration.

Dire Cuts Face Phila. School District Under Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal, the School District of Philadelphia faces a severe reduction in funding. The District stands to lose $292 million in funding, including $107 million of Basic Education funding; $110 million of Charter School Reimbursement; $55 million of Accountability Block

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Grant funding; $19 million of Educational Assistance funding; and $1 million for Dual Enrollment programs. This represents close to a 10% reduction in the District’s overall funding, compared to 2010-11 and would force the District to go from a budget of $3.2 billion to a budget of $2.7 billion. Yesterday, Michael Masch, the District’s CFO, provided an update on what the cuts would mean to District personnel and programs. If The Governor’s budget proposal is passed, the District will be forced to cut the workforce by more than 3,800 (16%), including over 400 members of Central Office staff, accounting for a 50% personnel reduction at District headquarters, and 1,260 teachers

(12%). Nearly 650 Noontime Aides, almost 400 Custodians, over 180 Counselors and 51 Nurses would also face job loss. “Seventy percent of the District’s budget is mandated and the District has to present a balanced budget each fiscal year,” said Masch. “The District recognizes the great financial challenges currently facing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we are prepared to do our part to deal with these challenges. But the anticipated funding cuts, now being proposed, will in fact disrupt the District’s ability to serve Philadelphia’s 200,000 public-school students and sustain the momentum of the past eight consecutive years of rising test scores and charter school expansion.”

Payton Bill Would Open Ed Opportunities For Undocumented Immigrants State Rep. Tony Payton Jr. (DKensington) will introduce legislation that would allow undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school, community college or State-related university. Under Payton’s bill, to be eligible, students would have to attend a public or nonpublic secondary school in Pennsylvania for at least

three years, pay State income taxes for at least three years prior to enrollment in college, and provide an affidavit to the institution of higher education that the student will file an application to a become a permanent resident. 2“Most undocumented students had no choice in entering the United States illegally, have lived in this country for most of their lives, and can make economic and

social contributions to society if allowed to continue their studies on the college level,” said Payton. “Considering the significant cost difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, as well as the fact undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach for many of these students.”

Sen. Williams Will Hold School-Choice Info Meeting Tonight The Office of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-W. Phila.), Students First and the Black Alliance for Educational Options will hold an informational event on school choice this evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. It will take place at Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, 5501 Cedar Avenue. Families and the community are invited to this event to hear an overview of the Opportunity Scholarship and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Act (SB 1), listen to teachers and parents speak about school choice and get an opportunity to voice their opinion 28 APRIL, 2011

and ask questions.

Farnese Bills Will Combat AntiLGBT Discrimination State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-S. Phila.) joined with State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and a host of State House members, advocates and supporters to announce legislative initiatives that would protect people who live or work in Pennsylvania from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

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The Philadelphia Public Record Calendar Apr. 28Congressman Bob Brady and Sam Staten, Sr., host cocktail fundraiser for State Rep. Jewell Williams for Sheriff at Vesper Club, 233 Sydenham St., 5:308:30 p.m. Suggested donation $250. Apr. 28Robert Archie hosts Fundraiser for Councilman Darrell Clarke at Duane Morris, LLP, 30 S. 17th St., 5:30-7 p.m. Contributions $100/$$250/$500. Checks payable to Friends of Darrell Clarke. RSVP swilliams98@hotmail.com or (215) 631-4939 Apr. 28State Rep. John Taylor hosts Historical Site Cigar & Wine Tasting at Colonial Dames of Phila., 1630 Latimer St., 5:30-7:30 p.m. For info (215) 545-2244. Apr. 28Fundraiser for 1st Dist. Council Democrat candidate Mark Squilla at McFadden’s, Citizens Bank Pk., 5:30-7:30 p.m. For info (267)290-8836. Apr. 28Fundraiser for judicial candidate Vince Giusini at Galdo’s Catering, 1935 Moyamensing Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m. Open bar, cigar bar, buffet, music. Minimum at door $100, 18-25 young adults $25. Make checks payable to Vince Giusini For Judge. Apr. 28Phila. Children’s Alliance Bear Affair at Crystal Tea Rm., 9th floor, Wanamaker Bldg., 6-9:30 p.m. Awards to be presented. For info Dennille Varney 1 (610) 5979092. Apr. 29State Rep. Rosita Youngblood hosts Senior Fair at NewCourtTHE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

land Life, 5457 Wayne Ave., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For info Rochelle (215) 849-6426. Apr. 29Friends of State Rep. Cherelle Parker hold Fish Fry at Champagne, 21 E. Chelten Ave., 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets $10. For info (215) 437-3925, ext. 202. Apr. 29S. Phila. Realty Board fundraiser for Barbara Capozzi, 2nd Dist. Council Democrat candidate at Galdo’s Catering, 20th & Moyamensing, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $100. Open bar, buffet, food stations open all evening. For info (267) 888-6045. Apr. 29Fish Fry Fundraiser for City Commissioner candidate Michael Bell at Scotty’s Bar, 1420 Ellsworth St., 6-10 p.m. Tickets $10. For info Kajet Washington (267) 253-6970 or Julius Bell (215) 380-9709. Apr. 2959th Ward Dem Committee holds Pre-Primary Beef, Turkey & Beer at Elks Lodge, 210 E. Haines St. Donation $15. Apr. 29Fundraiser hosted by Dan Pellicciotti for Judge Sean Kennedy at Keenan’s in Roxborough. SOLD OUT! Apr. 29Ed Rendell Is special guest at Fundraiser for Joe Grace at Pyramid Club, 52nd fl., 1735 Market St., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Guest $250, Sponsor $2,600, Host $1,000, Supporter $500. Apr. 29-302011 Libertarian Party State Convention at Conference Ctr., 1411 Liberty St., Franklin, Pa. 28 APRIL, 2011


“I am proud we are all partners in making sure that all Pennsylvanians are protected equally under the law,” said Farnese. “My colleagues and I have long been advocates of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered rights and equal protection under the law for every citizen regardless of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability. Farnese is primary sponsor of SB 910, which has been referred to the State Government Committee, and Frankel is primary sponsor of HB 300. Both bills seek to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the list of prohibited factors.

“Let’s be clear about what these bills will do; not only will they finally bring equality in the fight against discrimination and remedy a failure of our civil rights protection in PA, but just as importantly, they will make Pennsylvania more economically viable,” Farnese said. “These bills will create jobs and business opportunities in Pennsylvania because people will want to live and work here – in a state that values equal protection for all people.” Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Twelve of those states and the District of Columbia also ban discrimination based on gender identity. Four of those states border Pennsylvania.

ties prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or both, including Allentown, Allegheny County, Doylestown, Easton, Erie Co., Harrisburg, Haverford Township, Lancaster, Lansdowne, Lower Marion Twp., New Hope, Reading, Philadelphia, City of Pittsburgh, Scranton, State College, Swarthmore, West Chester and York. A poll conducted in February for Equality Pennsylvania by Susquehanna Polling and Research showed strong statewide support for this legislation. According to this poll, 69% of Pennsylvanians support passage of LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination legislation.

In Pennsylvania, 19 municipali-

Hispanic GOP Group Announces Pa. Leadership SOMOS REPUBLICANS announced North Philadelphia attorney and former State Senatorial candidate Robert Nix as its Pennsylvania state director. Nix’s family roots are firmly in Laredo, Texas. He rapidly carved a high profile for himself as a contributing op-ed columnist in Spanish and English newspapers, and as a frequent TV commentator and speaker on issues such as leadership, immigration reform, education, police-community relations, and local government and politics. He was the founder and chairman of a statewide coalition of Hispanic Republicans. SOMOS REPUBLICANS is the largest conservative Hispanic Republican grassroots organization in the country committed to promoting positive, principled conservative solutions that confront our community and the nation today. The group describes its core 28 APRIL, 2011

principles as “Limited Government, Right to Life, Free Market Capitalism, Low Taxes, 2nd Amendment Rights and Complete Legal Immigration Overhaul to join us in every state throughout the nation to change the direction of the country on behalf of Hispanics.” Under Nix’s leadership, the Hispanic group will take a stark stand in opposition to State Rep. Darryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), who has promoted numerous antiimmigration measures. The 2010 Census shows Pennsylvania has the thirdlargest percentage of residents older than 65 in the US, and Metcalfe is supporting “isolationist and restrictionist ideas that will work against sustaining the entitlement programs baby boomers will require as they continue to retire,” SOMOS REPUBLICANS said in a statement. “It is imperative to support progrowth ideas because under the current system, enti-

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tlement programs will drain all federal revenues within 15 years, and having no revenues will affect Social Security. Nix’s group vowed “to counter those who introduce any anti-Hispanic, and isolationist laws by offering reasonable legislation that will benefit Americans, and taking to task any group or individual that demonizes or uses “spiteful political rhetoric” against the Hispanic community to promote their political standing or cause.” “Metcalfe’s extreme nature is an embarrassment to the Republican Party when he attacks our Constitu-

tion and the 14th Amendment under the guise of ‘anchor babies’,” the group’s statement continued. It also called Metcalfe is “an embarrassment to the pro-life movement” – fighting words in Republican circles. SOMOS REPUBLICANS charged Metcalfe “is not a good steward of taxpayer monies when he advocates for unconstitutional laws while ignoring the mistakes of Hazleton, Pa., that left the town struggling to pay for the lawsuit in Lozano v. Hazleton. Hazleton’s city insurer refused to pay about $4.5 million in legal fees.”

Big Crowd Turns Out For ‘Take It All Back’ Walk

A big crowd of walkers that turned out last week for the ‘Take It All Back’ community walk and rally organized by Women Organized Against Rape also heard speeches from federal and local officials and emotional prose, poetry and music from rape survivors. The attendees walked 1.5 miles through the city hold6|

ing banners and signs and shouting for an end to the silence about rape. The walk and rally to raise awareness of sexual assault and funds for WOAR were part of April being National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, as declared by President Barack Obama. Those speaking to the crowd included Susan B. Carbon, director of the Dept. of Justice’s Office of Vio-

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lence Against Women, who was appointed by President Obama. Other speakers included Maria Pajil Battle, president of WOAR; Delilah Rumburg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape; Deborah Harley, chief of the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Unit, Philadelphia DA’s Office, and State Representative Cherelle Parker (D-Northwest). Organizers said the event was cathartic in that many of the survivors of rape, women and men, spoke out and forgave their perpetrators.

streets on JFK Boulevard and ended at the Independence Visitor’s Center at 6th and Market streets where the rally was held. WOAR is a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia. Its mission is to eliminate all forms of sexual violence through specialized treatment services, comprehensive prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of victims of sexual assault. WOAR provides free counseling for survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse.

The walk began at Love Park between 15th and 16th

New Residents Come To W. Phila. Sustainable PHA Community

PHA ADMINISTRATIVE RECEIVER Michael Kelly, left, celebrates completion of Markoe Street Homes sustainable development with resident Melvia Powell-Hamms, resident liaison Nellie Reynolds and Congressman Chaka Fattah. Turning a once-blighted block from mean to green, the Philadelphia Housing Authority marked the completion of an award-winning sustainable development and welcomed new residents in ceremonies in West Philadelphia yesterday. The Markoe Street Homes represent the final segment of the Lucien E. Blackwell Homes, 28 APRIL, 2011

formerly known as Mill Creek. They are located in the 800 block of N. Markoe Street, between Brown and Parrish Streets. The agency totally rehabilitated 17 homes and built six new homes on some lots that were empty. Two units are handicap-accessible, with residential elevators, and conform to federal disability requirements. THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD

“Once again, PHA has demonstrated a progressive approach to homebuilding that’s a winner for residents and the environment. Projects such as this one show PHA is committed to sustainable, green, modern development in the City,” said Michael Kelly, PHA’s administrative receiver. “This is another example of stimulus dollars producing both jobs and homes. Our real-estate develop|

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ment team had already done planning so we were ready to go when the money became available.” Existing facades of houses on Markoe Street were used as much as possible, as well as reusing materials from the existing homes. The design maximizes the use of natural light. These homes are built to the highest energy standards, including Energy Star windows, fixtures, appliances and equipment. Congressman Chaka Fattah (DPhila.), a member of the House

Appropriations Committee, spoke at the ceremonies, saying, “It is fitting that a pioneer community stabilizing effort, which is now nearing completion with today’s opening, bears the name of Lucien Blackwell. He, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and their family have a long history fighting for this community. I’m proud I have been able to exercise a leadership role in the demolition of those high rise ‘warehouse’ projects to make room for Blackwell Homes, and to fight for the federal dollars that have made such a difference here in West Philadelphia.”

Prior to redevelopment of the block, PHA held a design competition among young architects to design the project, with the winning entry, by Jibe Design, a small Center City firm. The Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognized the design last October with one of its Awards for Design Excellence. The Markoe Street Homes were completed in large part because of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds, which covered most of the $7.1 million investment.

Councilman Green’s Hearing Looks At Cutting Health-Care Costs Councilman at Large Bill Green is holding a public hearing now in Room 400, City Hall, to investigate ways the City of Philadelphia can improve the quality and reduce the cost of providing health care services to its employees and citizens.

At today’s hearing, testimony will be provided by Law Enforcement Health Benefits, which provides health insurance for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 in Philadelphia. LEHB program estimates savings of over $61 million since 2002.

The City is expected to spend close to $400 million on health care this year – more than 35% of employee benefit costs and almost 10 times the annual budget for the Dept. of Parks & Recreation. Finding new ways to control costs and provide benefits is crucial to the City’s fiscal health going forward.

The goal of the hearing is to provide an opportunity for Council and the public to learn about the innovative approaches being pursued by the union health plans, including a focus on preventive and comprehensive care.

Resolution 110019, introduced by Green, invites union representatives and others to share innovative strategies for quality health care and related cost savings.

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Rubin Fans Turn Out At DC 33 RUNNING HARD despite lack of primary opposition is Democrat candidate in 10th Council Dist. Bill Rubin, who hopes to unseat Councilman Brian O’Neill (R). At a fundraiser last evening held at DC 33’s hall in University City, sharing a confident moment were, from left, candidate’s father Bill Rubin, Sr., DC 33 Local 159 President Lorenzo North, Rubin and Ward Leader Pat Parkinson.

Delany’s Team Whoops It Up At Finnigan’s ELATED at having just been endorsed by Republican City Committee, City Commissioner hopeful Marie Delany was surrounded by well-wishers at Finnigan’s Wake in Northern Liberties last night. Among crowd were City Committee leader Vito Canuso and Ward Leaders Bill Pettigrew and Tom Matkowski.

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National Women’s Think Tank Backs Singer For City Commissioner EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has announced its endorsement of Stephanie Singer for City Commissioner. “EMILY’s List is proud to endorse Stephanie Singer for City Com-

missioner,” said its Political Dir. “Stephanie is committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose, has clear progressive values and has shown a commitment to bringing the City Commissioner’s office into the 21st century by implementing common-sense reforms. We

are confident she will serve the people of Philadelphia with honor and integrity.” Singer described herself as “honored and humbled” by EMILY’s List’s support.

MLK Nonviolence Names New Board Members

PHILA. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. has appointed nine new Board members, from left: Lloyd Ayers, Phila. Fire Commissioner; James Kenney, Councilman at Large; Dr. Donna Laws; Doris Smith-Ribner, former State Judge; Dean Weitzman, Esq., MyPhillyLawyer - Silvers, Langsman, and Weitzm; Susan Rosenthal, former educator; E. Steven Collins, director of urban marketing and external relations; Dr. Bruce N. Alick, pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown; and Ulysses “Ukee” Washington, CBS-3 anchor and talk-show host. 10 |

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Rare Penna. Fungus Gets Its Name From Philly Botanist A Philadelphia botanist who has studied rare plants for 50 years, but has never attained the honor of having a plant named for him, is finally getting his due – but with a barely visible organism so rare it may never be seen again. Dr. Alfred “Ernie” Schuyler, emeritus curator of botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences and a world expert on rare plants, recently was honored when a colleague discovered a new species of lichen and named it after him. The barely visible lichen, Vezdaea schuyleriana, is known to exist on a single boulder in rural Central Pennsylvania, northwest of Lewisburg – and nowhere else in the world. “This is indeed a rare honor,” said Schuyler. “I love it!” A lichen is a fungus that grows

symbiotically with algae, a tiny plant. In other words, the fungus and the algae form a living partnership in which they survive together as a lichen. Lichens live on soil, rocks, walls, and trees all over the world. There are more than 14,000 known species of lichens in the world and more are being discovered. James Lendemer, a doctoral student at The New York Botanical Garden and a research associate at the Academy, is among the relatively few scientists devoting their research to lichens. In the March 2011 issue of Notulae Natureae, Lendemer announced he named his newly discovered lichen after his Academy colleague and friend, Dr. Schuyler. Lendemer studied and curated lichens in the Academy’s herbarium before going to New York. The Academy’s lichen

collection is among the oldest in North America and contains more than 25,000 specimens. Some lichens are important indicators of environmental quality. Because they are sensitive to air pollution, declining populations can be a clue to degraded air quality. Lichens also are a source of food for animals, and they help in the weathering process of turning rocks into soil. “There is a lot we don’t know about lichens because so few people study them, and minute lichens are rarely collected and studied,” said Schuyler. “Who is going to search for more Vezdaea schuyleriana? It’s so rare, it may never be seen again.”

Concilio Calls Student Artists To Its Poster Contest Concilio invites all high-school and college students to submit an original artwork for our Latinos Arts and Cultural Festival poster contest sponsored by ALPHA office supplies, Inc. ALPHA and Concilio are looking for a special poster that best represents this year’s Latinos Arts and Cultural Festival theme, “Our Legacy”. The winning piece will receive the firstplace prize of $1,000, in addition to being displayed throughout the entire Festival Activities including: annual Hispanic Fiesta, Puerto Rican Parade, and agency gala. The second prize winner will receive

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$500 and third prize $250. So, bring out your paintbrushes and express your talent through a creative piece of art recognizing “Our Legacy”. The deadline for submissions is May 6, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. All applicants must fill out an entry form to qualify for the contest. For additional information, call Damaris Feliciano at (215-627-3100) ext. 205. Schools are encouraged to submit entries.

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